Surety amounts and those who cannot afford them: Case of Shobhanaben
Shobhanaben Thakor is a victim of trafficking for the purpose of removal of organ. However a FIR was registered against her along with other accused u/s. 420, 419, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120B. 34 of IPC and sec 19 of the Transplantation of the Human Organs Act. She was granted bail with PR bond of Rs 30,000/- and like amount of one or more surety. Being from a socio- economic backward class had to make an application for reduction of bail amount and amount reduced to PR bond of Rs 15,000/- and like amount of solvent surety, and that she can be release on provisional cash bail of Rs 15,000/- till 29.09.2016. She was released on provisional cash bond with help of a charitable organisation. Since her release, Shobhana has been present before the Ld Magistrate on every date. However being from a socio economic backward class that she could not find any person who could stand as surety for that amount or had the required documentation under law. Therefore from time to time had to move before the Ld Magistrate for extension of time to furnish surety. In the meantime moved before the Sessions Court and later on rejection from Sessions Court to High Court, who in turn asked us to file an application in the lower for permanent cash bail before the Magistrate. Therefore made one such application before the Ld Magistrate and by order dated 17.11.2016 rejected our application for permanent cash bail, however granted time to furnish surety until 04.04.2017. Even then Shobhana was unable to find any person who could stand as surety for here and adding to that, her husband had expired on 16.02.2017. Therefore, moved before the High Court against the order dated 17.11.2016. However, at the same time moved before the Magistrate for extension of time and the same came to be rejected by the incharge court due to the absence of the regular court and Shobhana was taken into custody. Therefore a fresh bail had to be filed before the Ld magistarte again and extensively argued for release on bail on only PR bond or cash bond. Shobhana was granted bail dated 15.04.2017 but with PR bond of Rs 15000/- and like amount of solvent surety but be released on provisional cash bond of Rs 15000/- until 15.06.217 and permanent cash bond came to be rejected. Same was challenged before the Sessions Court and prayed for modification of bail order u/s 439 and 445 of CrPC. however same came to rejected on the ground that the offence is grievous in nature and that she is a resident of Gujarat. Further extension had to be sought for before the Ld magistrate and same was allowed. Then the Sessions Court order was challenged before the High Court, whereat finally after one year of struggle, High Court modified the bail order dated 15.04.2017 and granted that Shobhana be released on deposited cash bond of Rs 15000/- by order dated 13.07.2016. To note, Shobhana continues to attend court on every listed date. Recent data received from the Prison Authority upto July 31st, 2017 - around 642 undertrials who have been granted bail for punishments upto seven years of imprisonment and around 589 undertrials in prison who should after seven days to be released on PR bond as per section 436 of CrPC that continue to languish in prison because they are too poor to raise the surety amount.